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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:31 pm on April 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #Severance, #ConocoPhillips, #Trial   

    ConocoPhillips Severance Pay Trial Starts Today 

    4.3

    This is a photo of my trial team as they get ready to go to court today in an employment law trial against Conoco Phillips, the giant oil and gas company.

    The employment law attorneys in this photo are Connor Throckmorton, Alexandra Okolie, and Edwin Villa. They handle discrimination and wrongful termination cases at our office, Coane and Associates, PLLC. Today’s trial in US District Court-Houston involves a claim for severance pay. Our client was terminated by ConocoPhillips and they claimed he was not entitled to severance pay, all the while they were letting others go and paying them severance in accordance with the company plan.

    Defendants in the case include both the company and the Plan Administrators, Frank Alexander and Dan Mecham. Both Mecham and Alexander were sued because they were administrators of the Plan and were involved at one point in the decision to refuse severance pay to our client.

    During the litigation of the case, there were depositions of human resource workers Caroline Churchill and Heather Sirdashney. It is alleged that these two human resource employees played a role in deciding whether to terminate our client with no severance or to allow him to get severance by laying him off.  The company has backed their decision to terminate with no severance.

    ConocoPhillips filed a motion for summary judgment to try to get the lawsuit dismissed, but the federal judge decided the case must go to trial and he refused to dismiss the case. It is expected that the case will last through Friday of this week.

    For further information, contact Bruce Coane at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066.

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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 10:45 am on February 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #metoo, #NLRB, #timesup   

    Aon Risk Services Under Federal Investigation: #MeToo Allegations 

    Aon Risk Services Southwest, a division of Aon plc,  a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, is currently under federal investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and is facing a formal complaint filed by the  National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

    The allegations before the NLRB are for allegedly  engaging in unfair labor practices, namely for firing  our client in retaliation for engaging in protected concerted activities with other employees for the purposes of mutual aid and protection, by discussing sexual harassment, work environment harassment and sex discrimination in the office with other employees and by complaining about that conduct to Aon. She alleges in her EEOC charge that she was fired as a result of her sex harassment, hostile work environment and sex discrimination complaints to Human Resources at Aon.

    Our client, a former employee of Aon’s Houston office, has retained our Houston employment law firm to represent her in these proceedings. After being sexually harassed by a representative of a multi-million-dollar client of Aon,  our client filed a formal complaint with Aon’s HR department. She alleged that the company representative  said that he would not give her their business unless she had sex with him.

    Aon proceeded to conduct a formal investigation. During the investigation, our client also raised concerns and complained about the “frat house” culture at Aon’s Houston office.  In particular, our client alleges that in her repeated conversations with Managing Director, Tracey Erwin  and Managing Director  Eli Sakellakis she informed her direct management  about the hostile work environment at Aon, and no actions were ever taken by management to correct the violations.

    Our client states that during the investigation, she discussed with Aon’s HR department numerous occasions where co-worker Jimmy Winters behaved inappropriately with both male and female co-workers, but this behavior was dismissed according to our client. The Houston office for Aon Global Energy (Aon plc) where our client worked, is under the direction of CEO, Bruce Jefferis.

    While it is alleged that Aon’s own HR department eventually concluded that our client  was indeed sexually harassed by an Aon client, the investigation aimed at their own work environment concluded much differently.  In fact, before any conclusions were formally made, Aon allegedly retaliated against our client by isolating her, attempting to negatively characterize her work product, and quickly and abruptly firing her, for an alleged breach of Aon’s Code of Business Conduct, according to her EEOC charge.

    Considering the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movement and its uncovering of sexual discrimination and inequality against women in all aspects of business, it is no surprise that a global corporation like Aon has found itself on the receiving end of a formal NLRB complaint and EEOC charge. A formal hearing at the NLRB is scheduled before a judge on March 25, and the EEOC is currently investigating the EEOC charge.

    For further information, Bruce Coane, a Houston Employment Lawyer and Miami Employment Lawyer, may be contacted at 713.850.0066 or at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:49 pm on February 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #HR, #HumanResources, #Illinois, #Shooting,   

    Illinois Worker Goes “Postal”: 5 Killed 

    Last week, an Illinois factory worker showed up to work with a gun, when he thought he was going to be terminated.

    According to news reports, the worker, Gary Martin, brought the gun into a meeting where he suspected he was going to be terminated. As is typical of such terminations, the Human resources manager was present, together with the plant manager, a supervisor and an HR intern. Many of my clients have been terminated in similar meetings.

    Mr. Martin was a 15-year employee of the company, Henry Pratt Co., in Aurora, Illinois.  I have had many clients who have been long-term employees, and who were fired. The termination happens in meetings just like the one in Aurora. Clients of this Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer have had jobs at a company for 20, 30 and 40 years when they are suddenly terminated for “performance” issues, or often, when they get a new supervisor.

    I have often wondered how HR or upper-management lets this happen, that is, the termination of a long-term employee who has done a great job, but may have had some incident at work or a new supervisor or some other relatively minor issue compared to their storied career. With all the HR seminars that go on across the country, you’d figure they might discuss the possibility of  having an ombudsman to advocate for these long term workers. After all, the knowledge that has been accumulated and the long term stellar record of work, are compelling reasons to want to keep such employees.

    Of course, shooting and killing the HR manager and plant manager can never be justified. Unfortunately, this has happened many times before, especially within the U.S. Postal Service, thus, the phrase, “going postal.”  I wonder if HR professionals will start to have armed security present in their termination meetings. I’ve certainly had cases where my clients have been escorted off the premises by armed security at their company (always very embarrassing to the employee).

    Surely, HR professionals will be reevaluating the termination process in light of last week’s incident, and perhaps coming up with ways to save the jobs of experienced, long-term employees, rather than firing them in that dreaded termination meeting. Or, perhaps, they will be discussing safer ways to do such terminations where they are not forced to risk their lives.

    Bruce Coane is a Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer representing workers, nationwide, in cases of wrongful termination. He may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, and via email at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:22 pm on October 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Federal Judge Orders University of St. Thomas to Turn Over Documents in Discrimination Case 

    In an Order released this week, a federal judge in Houston ordered the University of St. Thomas (Houston), to turn over documents related to our client’s employment discrimination case.

    Our law firm, specializing in employment law and wrongful termination cases, sued the University of St. Thomas for failing to renew our client’s teaching contract. Our client taught in the College of Nursing and had very good reviews. She complained about reverse race discrimination (she is white), and then one month later, the university says it made the decision to not renew her contract. Our client argues that the non-renewal is not a coincidence but is retaliation for complaining.

    In a hearing held this week, a federal judge ordered the university to turn over many documents, including over a year’s worth of emails sent by Poldi Tschirch (Nursing School Dean), Angelina Chambers (who our client alleges discriminated against her) and Lucindra Campbell-Law. The judge also ordered the university to turn over all documents about the discrimination investigation that they conducted, as well as all documents about our client’s placement on a performance improvement plan.

    No trial date has been set yet, but the judge has asked the parties to report back next month.

    For further information, this Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, and at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:13 pm on October 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #Miscarriage, #Pregnancy,   

    Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination 

    Here is a very interesting article about pregnancy discrimination. I have had cases just like this, but in order to make the case, it is absolutely critical to have a doctor’s letter tying the miscarriage to the treatment received at work. Many doctors may not be willing to say that, and so, even with the statistics described in the article, it is often difficult to make a case without the expert testimony of a physician.

    For further information, this employment law attorney can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:18 pm on October 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #UnpaidOvertime, #WageViolations,   

    Palm Beach OBGYN clinic and doctors sued for alleged wage violations and discrimination 

    Palm Beach Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.A. and Dr. Samuel Lederman, Dr. Gloria Hakkarainen, Dr. Sylvia Siegfried, Dr. Joy Cavalaris, Dr. Lori Sevald and Dr. Marcela Lazo have been sued in U.S. District Court for overtime wages and for race and national origin discrimination by a former Billing Manager who worked for them for over ten years.

    Our employment law firm, Coane and Associates, filed the lawsuit in the West Palm Beach Division of the U.S. District Court. The case alleges that our client has unpaid overtime of over $70,000 which the defendants have refused to pay. Additionally, our client claims that the office staff was mostly white, Hispanics who wanted her terminated, as one of the only black employees in the office.

    Our client was terminated and then she alleges that Nelda Rodriguez, a Hispanic woman replaced her as Billing Manager. Our client seeks reinstatement, back pay and overtime pay in the lawsuit. A jury trial in 2019 is expected.

    For further information, contact employment law attorney Bruce Coane at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 305.538.6800.

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:19 pm on October 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #ADA, #EmploymentRights, #Redtide,   

    Red Tide and your job near The Beach 

    With red tide invading all parts of Florida, I have been getting inquiries from individuals who work on or near the beach.

    My Miami Beach office, itself, is actually located just two blocks from the beach. The questions I have been fielding deal with the rights of workers when being exposed to dangerous red tide and avoiding wrongful termination. The red tide in Florida has been killing thousands of fish over the past weeks, and the question is how does it affect humans.

    Published reports (and my own past experience being exposed in Galveston, Texas), indicate that it causes itchy and red eyes, as well as a feeling of tightness in the chest. Breathing issues have also been reported.

    Some callers have told me they work at hotels or restaurants on the beach or near the beach, and they are already getting symptoms from the red tide and don’t want to go to work. In one case, the boss was threatening termination if the food server in Palm Beach County did not show up for work.

    Here’s my advice. If you are a worker suffering symptoms of red tide, or afraid of getting symptoms, then get a note from your doctor ORDERING you to be off from work until the beaches reopen or the symptoms or risk subsides. There is no full-fledged way to guarantee saving your job, but if you have a diagnosis and a doctor’s note ORDERING time off from work, an employer will certainly think twice about firing you.

    If a person gets fired when off due to a diagnosis and doctor’s orders, they may have a case under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Of course, there are limitations on legal rights and that is why it is important to know the law before asserting any possible legal rights.

    The author, employment lawyer Bruce Coane practices wrongful termination and employment law throughout the United States and has offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or at 305.538.6800.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:58 pm on July 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #AgeDiscrimination, ,   

    Griffin Dewatering hit with Age Discrimination Charge 

    A 70-year old employee of Griffin Dewatering in Houston has filed an age discrimination charge with the EEOC.

    This Houston Employment Lawyer filed the charge on behalf of my client who worked at Griffin Dewatering for over 20 years. My client stated that when he refused to retire, the company fired him.

    In particular, the charge filed at the EEOC states that he was called in to a meeting with David Singleton (President and CEO) and Michael Bilaki (CFO) and that they “pressured me to voluntarily retire.”  When he refused to retire, about two months later, he states that he was fired.

    The EEOC charge filed by my client also indicates that since the company changed ownership in 2014, “Generally, these new hires have been in their late 20s or early mid 30s at the time of hire,” as further evidence of age discrimination.

    The EEOC investigates charges of discrimination in the workplace. It is expected that the investigation in this case will last throughout 2018.

    For further information, this Houston Employment Lawyer may be contacted at 713.850.0066 or at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:40 pm on June 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Pregnancy Discrimination Is Rampant Inside America’s Biggest Companies 

    Here is an interesting article from the NY Times about pregnancy discrimination and how it is rampant, particularly among large companies.

    I have been handling pregnancy discrimination cases for over 20 years, ever since I got my first case involving a waitress in College Station, Texas. In that case, the restaurant who employed my waitress client fired her when she was six months pregnant, telling her it was too dangerous for a pregnant woman to be carrying a tray full of dinner plates. They eventually paid to settle that case.

    Right now, I have a case against TDECU, where we represent a woman fired during pregnancy.  We received a Right to Sue letter from the EEOC and plan to sure TDECU for pregnancy discrimination next week.

    For further information, this Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer can be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:21 pm on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , wrongful termination   

    Religious Discrimination case filed against Continental Real Estate Companies of Coral Gables 

    We recently filed an EEOC charge of employment discrimination based on religion and retaliation, against a Coral Gables company, Continental Real Estate Companies.

    The religious discrimination and retaliation charges arise out of a warning that our client got when she was first hired at the company, namely, do not discuss your Christian religious beliefs at work, according to the EEOC charge. Our client was told this, she states in the EEOC charge, by Luis Bertot, her Buddhist supervisor.

    A few months later when our client reported to Bertot about an offensive picture frame on a co-worker’s desk referencing Satan, Bertot fired her that same day, according to the EEOC charge.

    This Miami Employment Lawyer regularly files charges of discrimination with the EEOC on behalf of workers who were allegedly terminated in violation of civil rights laws. For further information, I may be reached at 305.538.6800 or bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     
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